Advisory: District 1199NM of the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees Announces Successful Arbitration Ruling
A telling analysis from the arbitrator describes what may be an unfortunate trend in which employees due process rights are infringed upon and accountability comes with a double standard.
The National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees District 1199NM would like to announce the successful arbitration of a fellow brother who was unjustly terminated from his position at the University of New Mexico Hospitals (UNMH) Food and Nutrition Department (F&N) main cafeteria known as “La Cocina”. UNMH is required to rehire and fully compensate for back wages plus interest over the time in which the employee was unemployed where he endured the uncertainty of employability and survival for his family which included a newborn.
The arbitrator presiding over the case brought forth by District 1199NM identified significant failures on the part of UNMH to establish justification for a termination of this employee in areas that are significant to the principles that the labor movement and those our nation stands for when an institution imposes decisions that have significant impact on the lives of citizens and their families. “Just Cause” ensures the right to due process, the right to a fair and unbiased investigation, fair treatment, substantial proof of an offense, and that the punishment truly “fits the crime”. Your union contract secures these protections when you are faced with any form of disciplinary action to ensure that the decision put forth is fair, just, and based on the TRUTH.(Names redacted to protect confidentiality)
“The most serious of all the failures of UNM was its violation of the due process rights of (grievant) by denying him the opportunity to be heard before the termination was final. It was a deprivation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
However, each of the other failures: proof of the offense, mitigation of the penalty based on (management) and (managements) behavior, the absence of a fair and unbiased investigation, disparate treatment in the penalty and penalty disproportionate to the offense was sufficient alone to warrant granting the grievance.” -Arbitrator
Staff Representatives that work diligently to protect members from unjust disciplinary actions rely heavily on the principles of Just Cause to ensure that UNMH does not wrongfully disrupt careers based on people’s personal prejudices, personal vendettas, conflicts of interest, or efforts to cover up unethical and unsafe practices in the workplace. The arbitrator presiding over this specific case alerts us to the potential for and possibility that this employer is intentionally ignoring these principles in attempts to protect managerial staff from accountability for their behaviors and potentially falsified and fabricated information to bring about a more severe outcome for this particular employee and subsequently lied under oath to serve themselves and their phony scenario.
“Apparently, according to UNM, unless someone accused of an offense confesses, denials must be discredited. It follows that everyone is guilty. However, the hospital did not apply that standard to [the manager] threats/assault and [the supervisor] dishonesty.” -Arbitrator
“UNM also claims that (supervisor) had no reason to fabricate the encounter nor history of fabrication. His behavior in the (redacted to protect identity) …incident shows his willingness to go to great lengths to curry favor with his immediate supervisor…” -Arbitrator
District 1199NM commends the members who stood firm and unified in efforts to bring the truth to light over the past year and a half. This employee that was wrongfully terminated participated in a grievance to bring attention to a more systemic trend in the department related to the abuse and mistreatment of staff, dishonesty of management, provocation of conflict amongst fellow co-workers, and disparate treatment fomenting further divisions in attempts to shake our worker solidarity. They were unsuccessful in shaking our solidarity and our members have proven the power of collective efforts to bring about change.
Our struggle is far from over! While union members and staff were involved in defense of the employee that was terminated, they were concurrently fighting the larger fight in attempts to reform their department from the toxic work environment that persisted long after the termination of their colleague. While this win was meaningful and almost life changing relief for the grievant, it speaks volumes in validating what employees hospital-wide and specifically in La Cocina have been attempting to call attention to for so long. Mere accusations appear to be enough to disrupt one’s career depending on who is making the accusation and who is the accused.
We are witnessing a form of bullying and workplace harassment that is all too common in the healthcare industry where management and their minions utilize formal mechanisms of the institution to harass employees they dislike and preserve the status quo of corruption and favoritism. District 1199NM members and staff will not be discouraged. This ruling calls attention to what staff representatives and victims have been saying all along. It is important now more than ever to come together and back your fellow co-workers. Do not stand witness to abuse, bullying, unsafe working conditions, and corruption. Call it out, speak up, document and report such conditions and don’t let your fellow co-workers endure such behavior on the part of management.